Guidelines

Non-neurogenic Female LUTS

1. INTRODUCTION

Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) encompass storage, voiding and post-micturition symptoms [1]. Storage symptoms include frequency, urgency, nocturia and urinary incontinence (UI) (stress UI [SUI], urgency UI [UUI] and mixed UI [MUI]). Voiding symptoms include hesitancy, intermittency, slow stream, straining, splitting or spraying of the urinary stream and terminal dribble. Post-micturition symptoms include post-void dribbling and feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. Lower urinary tract symptoms are often broadly classified into clinical syndromes/entities such as overactive bladder (OAB), underactive bladder (UAB), UI, nocturia, dysfunctional voiding, or genito-urinary fistulae.

LUTS are common in women [2-5] and cause a great deal of distress and embarrassment [6], as well as significant costs to both individuals and society [7]. Estimates of prevalence vary according to the definition and population studied. However, there is universal agreement about the importance of the problem in terms of human suffering and economic cost [7].

1.1. Aim and objectives

These Guidelines from the European Association of Urology (EAU) Working Panel on Non-neurogenic Female LUTS are written by a multidisciplinary group, primarily for urologists, but are likely to be referred to by other professional groups. The guidelines aim to provide sensible and practical evidence-based guidance on the clinical problems associated with female LUTS rather than an exhaustive narrative review. Such reviews for UI and other LUT syndromes are already available from the International Consultation on Incontinence [8] and other sources. Therefore, these EAU Guidelines do not describe the causation, basic science, epidemiology and psychology of LUTS/UI in detail. The focus of these guidelines is on assessment and treatment, reflecting clinical practice, and they do not consider women with LUTS caused by neurological disease, or LUTS occurring in children, as these are covered by complementary EAU Guidelines [9,10].

The current guidelines provide:

  • A clear description of the assessment and treatment of common clinical problems. This can provide the basis for both individual patient management and for planning and designing clinical services.
  • A brief but authoritative summary of the current state of evidence on clinical topics, complete with references to the original sources.
  • Clear guidance in those areas of practice for which there is little or no high-quality evidence.

The latest edition of the guideline has seen a significant expansion of scope from UI to non-neurogenic female LUTS. The primary consideration here is to include the significant population of women with functional urological conditions not necessarily associated with UI that were hitherto not accounted for in previous guidelines. Secondary considerations are to align more cohesively with the existing Non-neurogenic Male LUTS Guidelines. As a consequence of the anatomical and physiological differences between the male and female LUT, the prevalence, pathophysiology, diagnostic approach and management of male and female LUTS differ widely. For that reason, the EAU Guidelines Office decided to provide gender-specific guidelines on LUTS and UI.

1.2. Panel composition

The EAU Non-neurogenic Female LUTS Panel consists of a multidisciplinary group of experts, including urologists, a uro-gynaecologist, a urodynamic scientist, physiotherapists, a nurse practitioner continence care and patient advocates. All experts involved in the production of this document have submitted potential conflict of interest statements that can be viewed on the EAU website: https://uroweb.org/guidelines/non-neurogenic-female-luts.

1.3. Available publications

A quick reference document (Pocket Guidelines) is available, both in print and as an app for iOS and Android devices. These are abridged versions that require consideration together with the full-text versions. All documents are accessible through the EAU website: https://uroweb.org/guidelines/non-neurogenic-female-luts.

1.4. Publication history

The first EAU Urinary Incontinence Guidelines were published in 2001. The guidelines have been modified since to broaden its scope specifically to include other female LUTS as of 2021. Except for pelvic organ prolapse, all other sections of the 2022 Female LUTS Guidelines have been fully updated.